April 25th, 2014
02:34 PM ET
5 months ago

NRA cites eroding freedoms, warns of Hillary candidacy

(CNN) – Gun-rights advocates heralded efforts in punishing legislators at the ballot box in Colorado for new firearms restrictions and ripped into a new, well-funded gun-control effort launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It was all part of a predictable helping of red-meat rhetoric at Friday’s opening of the annual National Rifle Association meeting in Indianapolis that also included warnings about a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run and an erosion of American freedoms.

Several potential Republican presidential candidates took the podium, which is an important stop for those in the GOP contemplating a 2016 run to burnish their Second Amendment credentials.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, fired up the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium with trademark inflammatory rhetoric, heavy on anti-government themes.

Related: Arms treaty draws NRA, conservative ire

He accused the Obama administration as well as the "political and media elites" of chiseling away at the rights of Americans.

Perhaps the nation's most visible gun rights advocate, LaPierre drew a stark picture of the dangers that he said plague the country and argued the government has failed to protect its citizens.

"We know that in the world that surrounds us there are terrorists, home invaders, drug cartels, car jackers, 'knock-out' gamers, rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse as a society that sustains us all," he said.

Related: Georgia governor signs gun law

"So I ask you this afternoon: do you trust this government really to protect you and your family?" he continued. "We're on our own. That's a certainty."

He also dabbled into presidential politics, warning that gun-control advocates and those who side with them are also setting the stage for Hillary Clinton, who's considering another run for the White House.

"They're out there laying the groundwork to put a Clinton back in the White House," LaPierre said to a round of boos.

Politicos appear

Sen. Marco Rubio, who's weighing a presidential bid, said Americans can "take comfort" about what he sees as a hostile attack against gun rights because "in just 32 months, we will have a new president."

"And our current president should take comfort because in 32 months he can return home to live in the anti-gun utopia that is Chicago," he said.

Gun-control critics argue that cities with strict firearm bans, like Chicago, see more violence because people aren't allowed to arm themselves. Forty-five people were shot in the city last weekend.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who's facing a tough re-election battle this year, touted his Second Amendment-protector bona fides, promising the NRA crowd to continue his fighting against the administration's oppressive policies.

"The Bill of Rights does not come a la carte. It's not a pick and choose menu, despite what some in Washington may think," the Kentucky Republican said. "The Obama administration needs to be made to understand that the American people are serious about protecting their rights."

But former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a tea party favorite known for his staunchly social conservative following, said defending the right to bear arms isn't enough and that many basic freedoms are under assault.

"I'm coming to you to say thank you first, but it's not enough," he said. "Our rights are being assailed everywhere and just protecting the Second Amendment while all the other freedoms falter is not enough."

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, is also considering another run for the White House in 2016.

Another potential White House candidate, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, was the final speaker of the event. He warned that government infringement wouldn't stop with controlling Second Amendment rights, and suggested politicians like Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden misunderstand why Americans want to have guns.

Jindal pointed to "liberal extremist" bent on taking away guns as the same forces trying to implement a federally controlled healthcare system and to suppress freedom of religion.

"We must not let our opponents redefine what it means to be an American," he said, later adding, "let's be honest ... they think we're too dumb to order a pizza and too dangerous to protect our land."

Milwaukee County sheriff slams retired Supreme Court justice

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken gun rights advocate, sharply criticized retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who penned an op-ed in the Washington Post last week proposing changes to the Second Amendment.

"Now I know that people like Justice Stevens think they are smarter than the rest of us but with all due respect just what part of `shall not be infringed' does Justice Stevens not understand?" Clarke said.

"I have a better way of clearing up any confusion that activist judges have about the meaning of the Second amendment. I would add these seven words at the end of the clause `the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed' … ‘Keep your hands off our guns, damn it.'"

This year’s meeting, expected to draw 70,000 people over the weekend comes as the fight over gun control shifts from Washington to the states, cities and local communities.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

Chris Cox, the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of the NRA, touted a victory by gun-rights advocates in Colorado last September when voters booted two Democratic state lawmakers from office for supporting new gun laws.

Finally, he ripped into Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor who has pledged $50 million of his own money toward a new, highly publicized gun-control initiative.

"Mr. Bloomberg, you're an arrogant hypocrite,” Cox said of the politico and billionaire-businessman who is aiming to take on the NRA head on with the nation still being jolted by mass shootings and deadly inner city violence.

“Thirty-one billion dollars, $31 billion does not entitle you to tell us how to live our lives," Cox said. "Stay out of our homes, stay out of our refrigerators and stay the hell out of our gun cabinets because this freedom is not for sale," Cox.

Gun control activists not backing down

The gun debate has largely pivoted to the states, where gun-control advocates are recalibrating their efforts after falling short in Washington following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Gun-control activists were expected to head to Indianapolis to demonstrate near the NRA convention. Over 100 moms and 20 gun violence survivors will attempt to raise awareness.

Bloomberg to spend $50 million to challenge NRA on gun safety

The activists represent Everytown for Gun Safety, the new organization backed by Bloomberg, as well as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Gun rights • NRA • Wayne LaPierre
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Boo

    And of course the gun nuts will be all for this head case. Birds of a feather...

    April 25, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. King Joffrey

    Maybe the most irrational person with the most political clout in the country. It's sad that idiot has to use ridiculous scare tactics to manipulate people into believing the trash that comes out of his mouth

    April 25, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Tom l

    rs,
    Bundy didn't kill anyone. Why aren't u concerned about the militia of a govt agency? Why are these agencies so heavily armed with snipers and SWAT? Just imagine if Rney were president. Would you feel comfortable with him having the power with all of these militias? What if a President Romney used there govt agency militias to raid an abortion clinic?

    April 25, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. 2_indy1600

    Definitely seems to be Paranoid Friday, but can't help but wonder why poor old Bundy quit paying fees around the time Waco Bill seized a religious "compound." in Texas. Clinton did more to set back background checks than any president in US History. Turned Texas Red for over 20 years! Go dems.

    April 25, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Patrick

    rs

    Meanwhile an "eroding freedom" of Americans is to not be killed by some nut with a gun-whether that be Mr. Bundy and his heavily armed militia, of just some unstable soul that managed to by a gun legally or otherwise.

    The NRA's rather singular message might resonate with more Americans if they were willing to agree to background checks (as they did 20 years ago), or agree that military-grade hardware has no place in the average American's hands, and that guns, in fact don't belong everywhere in society- they just sound like radicalized fools.

    Lastly, the NRA's insistence that more guns is safer flies in the face of logic. At every single mass murder of the last 20 years (Columbine, Sandy Hook, the Colorado theater, the Giffords shooting,etc...) there have been so-called "good guys with guns" and in fact nothing changed- people still died-senselessly.

    Until the NRA behaves in a rational fashion with these truths, their message is lost. Their ability to self-limit or self discipline is what poisons their cause.
    -------------------------
    At the mass shootings there were no good guys with guns. The shooting sites were gun free zones.

    Who is the anti background check people? No one I know is against background checks. I have yet to see any gun dealer or show just sell someone a gun with no check.

    The only one not speaking the truth is you.

    April 25, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Sorry Chris but the NRA damn sure don't speak for me. Then again I'm not a coward who's afraid of her own shadow....

    April 25, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    I sometimes wonder if right wingnuts got to see the armed militia taking positions at the top of the overpass and aiming their weapons at government agents? Evidently Fox edited that out. Women and children to the front lines, while the rest of the sniveling twits hide behind them, it's the new republican war plan.

    April 25, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. smith

    @The Real Tom P.-The fact that gun murders declined more and more after the AWB expired proves it was a failure. Assault weapons are used in less than 1% of crimes and murders, more people are killed by blunt objects. Also, the AWB was just for show. It had so many loopholes that you could still buy an assualt rifle with less features. The magazine limit was a joke as well, you could still buy pre-ban 30 rd mags under the law. Face it, it was a massive failure.

    April 25, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Patrick – Ever been to Florida?

    April 25, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Tom l wrote:

    rs,
    Bundy didn't kill anyone. Why aren't u concerned about the militia of a govt agency? Why are these agencies so heavily armed with snipers and SWAT? Just imagine if Rney were president. Would you feel comfortable with him having the power with all of these militias? What if a President Romney used there govt agency militias to raid an abortion clinic?
    -------------------------------
    1, Bundy had threatened last fall that he would shoot to kill if anyone came for his cattle.
    2. Now you should know why the agents showed up with weapons.
    3. I guess you missed the armed militia that showed up for a shootin' out.
    4. I find it unlikely that Bishop Romney would shoot a fellow Mormon.
    5. You should thank Eric Holder. Janet Reno would have smoked 'em out.
    6. Stop imagining problems that will never come to pass. It's very bad for your health.

    April 25, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    I think every NRA member should go live in Somalia for a couple months to get a real feel for what society looks like when everyone is armed.

    April 25, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    A visit by a drone would be a nifty surprise to Mr. La Pierre.

    April 25, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. CryBabies

    Chris...The NRA speaks for me And I don't own a gun.

    April 25, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    La Pierre speaks and the dimwit RWNJs open their wallets like good little sheep ...

    April 25, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Victoria

    Patrick- there is actually a story out now of a Gun Show that takes place in Austin-the city of Austin wanted the gun show to do background checks on all sales- private sales was the main issue- background checks aren't required for those- the gun show owner refused to comply with that request so now it's not happening anymore. So, there are people out there who don't want background checks.

    April 25, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. smith

    @Rudy-You really think the members and supporters of NRA don`t know who is on the board of directors? They are going to spend the money no matter what is said or who is saying it. In fact, the gun and ammo love Obama and Dems. They get people out and buying more guns ammo.

    April 25, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    At the mass shootings there were no good guys with guns. The shooting sites were gun free zones.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except no. The parking lot where Rep Giffords wasn't a "gun-free zone", and a guy who helped to disarm the gunman was almost shot by a "good guy with a gun" who came around the corner and saw him holding the shooter's gun. The shooting gun range in Virginia where the guy opened fire on other customers was HARDLY a gun-free zone. If anyone isn't "speaking the truth" it's you babe.

    April 25, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Cry – Why would your support for the NRA surprise anyone? You are only doing what the baggers tell you.

    April 25, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. smith

    @Tampa Tim-No they did not aim their weapons at agents. If they had, they would have been arrested.

    April 25, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Patrick wrote:

    At the mass shootings there were no good guys with guns. The shooting sites were gun free zones.

    Who is the anti background check people? No one I know is against background checks. I have yet to see any gun dealer or show just sell someone a gun with no check.
    ------------------------–
    There were two fully armed security guards at Colombine. Q.E.D.

    April 25, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    Tampa Tim
    I sometimes wonder if right wingnuts got to see the armed militia taking positions at the top of the overpass and aiming their weapons at government agents?
    --------------

    They and their trucks loaded with "militants" reminds me of those old newsreels we used to see of the Taliban sitting in the back of their Toyota's. My husband and I always laughed out load at the spectacle they made of themselves much in the same manner we each laughed out loud at Bundy's crowd of ... well, whatever they see themselves as.

    April 25, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Smitty

    We can all thank the NRA, unless your a wimp. We need real men in power not sissys and wimps. Its clear the dem party has a major man-up problem. @rudy, you just aren't right

    April 25, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. MaryM

    The NRA exist only as a lobby for the gun manufacturers. Nothing more. The NRA leadership does not care what happens to gun owners all they want is for you to buy more guns. So LaPierre and others in the NRA use scare tactics so you will buy more guns.

    April 25, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. tom l

    Rudy NYC

    Tom l wrote:

    rs,
    Bundy didn't kill anyone. Why aren't u concerned about the militia of a govt agency? Why are these agencies so heavily armed with snipers and SWAT? Just imagine if Rney were president. Would you feel comfortable with him having the power with all of these militias? What if a President Romney used there govt agency militias to raid an abortion clinic?
    -----------
    1, Bundy had threatened last fall that he would shoot to kill if anyone came for his cattle. – threatened, but did not kill. rs said he wanted the freedom to not be killed by Bundy and I was pointing out that he didn't shoot anybody
    2. Now you should know why the agents showed up with weapons. – actually, I'm not excusing Bundy, but the over reaction and escalation by the feds contributed hugely to this issue. There is no reason the BLM should have snipers and SWAT. It's a freakin govt agency and all you're asking is for that agency to have more power over you.
    3. I guess you missed the armed militia that showed up for a shootin' out. – there was no shootout and it must be recognized that part of the reason for that possible shoot out – which didn't happen – was due to the force and intimidation by the this govt agency. Please refer to point #6 that you made as far as your unreal scenario as your scenario did NOT happen
    4. I find it unlikely that Bishop Romney would shoot a fellow Mormon. – who said anything about a Mormon? I am simply saying that there will be an issue with a repub president and that president will now have more power whatever that issue might be courtesy of people like you who can't see the big picture and aren't looking past what happens when your guy is out of office
    5. You should thank Eric Holder. Janet Reno would have smoked 'em out. – I thank nobody. This was a lose-lose because of the over reaction by both parties and both parties being wrong
    6. Stop imagining problems that will never come to pass. It's very bad for your health. – I will refer you to that great Patriot Act – one passed by a repub president and greatly expanded under a dem president.

    Why are you so willing to put more power and weaponry against the citizens of this country when you find half of that govt (repubs) totally evil and morally bankrupt? What happens when the evil repubs take control. You will remember these exchanges and say "that idiot little tom l was right! I don't like the fact that President Repub has this much power!"

    April 25, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. S. B. Stein

    If they are so concerned about the government not doing the job that it should, then let them spell out the job it should do and ways to fix it. I think some of these people want to live in the idealized Old West where almost everyone had a gun, and the way to resolve a problem was a shoot out in the street.

    April 25, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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